Israeli Ruthlessness 101
by Stephen Lendman
Israel has more crimes on its rap sheet than mere mortals can count. Going back well before its so-called War of Independence.
Continuing multiple times daily. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. By rogue leaders and likeminded officials.
More extremist now than earlier. Mocking rule of law principles and then some. Committing slow-motion genocide against millions of Palestinians.
Ludicrously claiming democratic credentials. Enacting one racist law after another. The latest by extremist cabinet ministers.
"(D)efining the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and to anchor the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of the Independence."
Heading for likely Knesset enactment. Declaring "the right to express national self-determination within the State of Israel only to the Jewish people."
Denying fundamental rights of one-fifth of its population. Arabs considered non-persons. Subhumans. Fifth column threats.
Netanyahu outrageously calling no country more democratic than Israel. Turning truth on its head claiming:
"(A)s it was and always will be. I don't know a country that is more democratic, or a more vibrant democracy than Israel in the world, certainly not in our region."
"What is being challenged today is Israel's existence as the nation-state of Jewish people, and therefore we will anchor in the law this national right of the Jewish people alongside a guarantee of individual rights for all its citizens."
Fact: Israel is more hypocrisy than democracy.
Fact: Its only enemies are ones it invents.
Fact: Its so-called Nation-State law gives democracy a bad name.
Fact: Mocking its fundamental principles.
Fact: Making regional monarchies look good by comparison.
Fact: Making Israel perhaps the only nation officially recognizing its majority population alone at the expense of minority members.
Fact: Nation-State legislation is civil rights law in reverse.
Fact: Rescinding rights for one-fifth of its population instead of affirming them for all. Equally, fairly and just.
Netanyahu remains determined to enact what just societies condemn. Discriminatory harshness they wouldn't touch.
Rife with appalling inequities.
Opposition Labor party leader Isaac Herzog said Netanyahu's government "does nothing but light fires. (It's) collapsing" under its own weight.
Haaretz editors said if legislation passes as now drafted, Israel will be removed "from the community of democratic nations."
A largely tainted community. One Israel never belonged to. Persecuting Arabs for not being Jews.
New legislation giving racism fig leaf cover. A veneer of legitimacy. Ruthlessness masquerading as democracy.
Taking a page out of Orwell. Saying all Israelis are equal. But some more than others.
Hebrew University Law Professor Ruth Gavison said "Nation-State (legislation) is likely to upset the essential balance of safeguarding (Israel's) entire vision."
Separate and unequal is longstanding Israeli policy. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel's (ACRI) new report discusses "One Rule, Two Legal Systems: Israel's Regime of Laws in the West Bank."
Civil justice for Jews. Militarized harshness for Palestinians. "The result: institutionalized discrimination," it says.
A passage from the report explains as follows, saying:
"Two residents of the Hebron area have an altercation within the territory of the West Bank and both are arrested."
"One of them, a Jewish resident of Kiryat Arba, is taken to a nearby police station, is immediately interrogated by a police officer and is brought within 24 hours to a hearing before the Jerusalem Magistrates Court."
"In this hearing, the judge decides to order his release on condition of bail; this is not a very severe case, and the defendant pleads self- defense."
"The second person, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, is arrested for 96 hours before being brought before a military judge."
"He is de facto interrogated only once during this period of time, under suspicion of committing an assault based on nationalistic motivations, which is deemed as a security offense, and he is tried before a military court, where he faces a penalty of extended incarceration."
Same case. Same issue. Separate rulings. A Jew given preferential treatment. A Palestinian harshly treated for not being Jewish.
Israeli Arab citizens treated much the same way. Longstanding injustice prevails. Mostly in Occupied Palestine. Worst of all in besieged Gaza.
Israel never was a democracy. For sure not now. With or without Nation-State legislation enactment. Pretense won't change things.
Discriminatory harshness touches all aspects of daily life. According to ACRI:
Numerous "military decrees, legal rulings and legislative amendments have resulted in a situation whereby Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Territories remain under the jurisdiction of Israeli law and the Israeli court system, with all the benefits that this confers."
Occupied Palestinians face militarized subjugation. Kangaroo tribunal justice. Meaning none at all.
For all alleged misdemeanors and crimes. From traffic violations to shoplifting to grand theft, armed robbery or first-degree murder.
According to Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Department director attorney Tamar Feldman:
ACRI's "report military decrees, legal rulings and legislative amendments have resulted in a situation whereby Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Territories remain under the jurisdiction of Israeli law and the Israeli court system, with all the benefits that this confers."
Palestinian rights don't matter. Treated with disdain. Like subhumans.
Societies perhaps are best judged by how they treat prisoners, their most disadvantaged and children.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) supports and helps thousands of incarcerated Palestinian political prisoners languishing unjustly in Israel's gulag.
Providing legal aid. Political action. Helping affected families. Other justice seeking initiatives.
PPC's new report says at least 600 Palestinian children were arrested since June. An average of four daily.
Collective punishment by any standard. Discriminatory harshness. Against some children too young to understand. A record likely unmatched anywhere.
It gets worse. Nearly 40% were sexually abused during arrest an/or interrogation. PCC attorney Mufeed al-Haj reported other violations.
Including late night/pre-dawn family home raids. Physical and psychological abuse. Traumatizing affected children. Ignoring parents' rights.
Israeli law permits them to accompany interrogated children. Security forces operate extrajudicially. Making warrantless arrests.
Without just cause. Threatening children with beatings. Isolation. Targeting their parents. Threatening to torture their fathers. Rape their mothers and sisters.
Denying children food and water. Forcing them to confess under duress. Judging them guilty by accusation. Sign confessions in Hebrew they don't understand.
Principle 1 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child says:
"Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family."
Entitled to special protections and opportunities. To help them develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially. So they'll grow up under conditions of freedom and dignity.
Enjoy the right to life. An adequate standard of living. Healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace.
For over 47 years, Israel systematically denied Palestinians all fundamental rights mattering most. Children treated as abusively as adults.
Inflicting what amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child mandates keeping them safe from harm.
Article 4 states:
"Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children's rights are respected, protected and fulfilled."
Article 37 states:
"No one is allowed to punish children in a cruel or harmful way. Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly."
Other provisions mandate State Parties ensure "No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
"Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action."
Israel breaches international law repeatedly. Violating its own. Ignoring its High Court rulings. According to UNICEF:
"In addition to Israel's obligations under international law, the guiding principles relating to the prohibition against torture in Israel are to be found in a 1999 decision of the Supreme Court, which is also legally binding on the Israeli military courts."
"The Court concluded that a reasonable interrogation is necessarily one free of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and that this prohibition is absolute."
Based on interviews UNICEF conducted, abuse and mistreatment persist. During arrest, transfer, detention and interrogation.
Heavily armed soldiers break into homes pre-dawn. Parents and children are terrorized. Threats and physical violence follow. Fundamental rights systematically denied.
UNICEF calls Israeli mistreatment "widespread, systematic and institutionalized." Children are taken from their families. Detained. Terrorized under harsh conditions. Many become traumatized.
"In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights," said UNICEF.
Defense for Children International (DCI) says about 20% of arrested Palestinian are held in solitary confinement. For days or weeks. Children as young as 10 are affected. Some younger.
Children are forcefully arrested. Painfully handcuffed. Blindfolded. Intimidated. Verbally abused.
Strip searched. Beaten. Threatened. At times with death. Isolated. Sexually abused. Threatened against family members.
Prevented from sleeping. Restricted or denied access to food, water and toilet facilities. Prevented from seeing parents, other family members or counsel.
Detained under horrific conditions. In tiny, windowless, unsanitary, foul-smelling cells. Forced to sign confessions in Hebrew under duress.
In times of war, used as human shields. Longstanding Israeli practice brutalizes them pre-dawn at home. At play. Going to or returning from school. Running errands for parents.
Occupied harshness makes normal life impossible. Stone-throwing convictions against people or property carry prison terms up to 10 years.
Against moving vehicles up to 20 years. Anything goes is longstanding Israeli policy. Children are treated like adults. Many become traumatized. Effects are longterm.
Official Israeli policy sanctions targeted assassinations. Death by diktat. No due process or judicial fairness.
The practice applies to Palestinians accused of various crimes. Including peacefully resisting Israeli ruthlessness.
Protesting for rights everyone deserves. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Other reasons Israel invents to justify cold-blooded murder. Automatically calling targeted Palestinians "terrorists."
Israel's Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch saying "a terrorist who strikes civilians should be killed."
On the spot. No arrest. No investigation. No right to trial. No due process. No judicial fairness. No judged innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
No right to counsel. No observance of universally recognized international law. Death by diktat. Case closed.
Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat wants Palestinian citizenship rights revoked. For family members of anyone Israel calls a "terrorist."
Meaning possible automatic deportation at Israel's discretion. An/or extra harsh discriminatory treatment. Including home demotions.
A practice Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls "deliberately and unlawfully punish(ing) people not accused of any wrongdoing."
"When carried out in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, it amounts to collective punishment, a war crime."
"(B)lantantly unlawful, says HRW's Middle East and North Africa director Joe Stork.
"Israel should prosecute, convict, and punish criminals, not carry out vengeful destruction that harms entire families."
Israel finds new ways to prove its pariah state status. Palestinians are victimized for not being Jews.
So are Arab Israeli citizens. Discriminated against unjustly. Fundamental civil and human rights don't matter.
Nothing in prospect looks promising. Business as usual persists.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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